Recreational marijuana in NY may generate up to 60,000 jobs and $350 million in taxes

Altho not mentioned in either of these two documents, Governor Cuomo has signed the legislation.

NEWS FROM Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried 822 Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248 – Tel: 518-455-4941250 Broadway, #2232, New York, NY 10007 – Tel: 212-312-1492GottfriedR@NYAssembly.Gov  –  Twitter @DickGottfried 
March 30, 2021  A Historic Day:Legislature Passes Bill to LegalizeAdult Use of Marijuana in NYS
Today, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed the landmark Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA, A. 1248A/S. 854A) to legalize the adult possession of cannabis in New York state.  It’s a historic step in reforming our broken, racist cannabis prohibition model.

Over the last decades, New York has made progress toward more rational marijuana laws through the decriminalization of adult possession of small amounts of marijuana, repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and enactment of a medical marijuana program, all steps that I advocated strongly, sponsored or co-sponsored, and voted for.  

Now, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will take a giant step forward.  It will create economic opportunities, including community reinvestment and social equity programs.  As a result of MRTA’s passage, New York is projected to collect new annual State tax revenues of about $350 million, and to generate between 30,000 to 60,000 jobs. 

The MRTA will:
establish an Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the adult use, medical use, and hemp programs; 
establish a licensing system for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market;
create a social and economic equity program to support communities disproportionately impacted by uneven enforcement of cannabis laws;
expand New York’s existing medical marijuana program by increasing patient access to medical marijuana, opening up the list of conditions to establish eligibility for an individual with any condition certified by a practitioner, increasing the number of medical dispensaries and medical companies, and allowing home cultivation of medical cannabis (including for patients);
and provide for the automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law. 

Agreement Reached To Legalize Recreational Marijuana In NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers have reached agreement on legalization of recreational marijuana: GOP lawmakers have concerns.

Lisa Finn's profile pictureLisa Finn, Patch StaffVerified Patch Staff BadgePosted Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 10:19 am ET|Updated Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 3:02 pm ET
A vote on the legislation is expected this week.
A vote on the legislation is expected this week. (Shutterstock)

NEW YORK — Democratic lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said— but some GOP lawmakers have concerns.

According to Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the bill would establish the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that would cover medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp.

The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and others in the cannabis market.

Tax revenue from the adult-use cannabis program is projected to reach $350 million annually — and the potential exists for the creation of 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across the state, Cuomo said.

Cuomo has also said the new legislation would mean justice for those “unfairly penalized for the use and sale of adult-use cannabis, arbitrarily arrested and jailed with harsh mandatory minimum sentences.”Subscribe

A vote on the legislation is expected this week.

“There were many important aspects of this legislation that needed to be addressed correctly — especially the racial disparities that have plagued our state’s response to marijuana use and distribution as well as ensuring public safety — and I am proud we have reached the finish line,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.

Some lawmakers said issues need to be addressed: New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo, a Republican representing the 1st District, said he believes the negative consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana far outweigh any revenue gain for the state’s coffers.

“This bill will have an adverse impact on the health of our communities, diminish our quality of life here on the East End of Long Island, and will make our roads and highways more dangerous,” he said. “In fact, under this legislation, driving under the influence of marijuana is only a violation — essentially a parking ticket for endangering the lives of families across Long Island.”

He added: “This is a severely flawed bill, one that I will urge my colleagues to oppose when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote.”

Assemb. Jodi Giglio, a Republican representing the 2nd District on Long Island, expressed some concerns.

“The devil is in the details,” she said. Giglio said drug recognition experts would need to be trained to identify use of marijuana while driving. That will increase taxes yet again,” Giglio said.

Giglio said she was also concerned about the proximity of retail dispensaries near churches and schools. And, she said, she had reservations about “watching our bucolic farm vistas converted to growing and distribution facilities where greenhouses would be built, with security fences, guards and bright lighting needing to be installed.”

After speaking with medical professionals who prescribe medical marijuana, Giglio said she is also concerned about the accessibility and “potential damage to” the younger generation. “With opioid use and suicide rampant in our state, I worry about addiction and productivity in schools and the future workforce for our younger generations.”

Others lauded the news: Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, issued a statement: “It should be common knowledge by now that the ‘War on Drugs’ has always really been a racist war on communities of color and other marginalized individuals. For decades, marijuana has been disproportionately used to criminalize Black and Brown folks on Long Island not for the sake of public safety but to feed the profit-seeking prison industrial complex. Finally, in New York, an end is in sight. This new marijuana reform proposal, which is the culmination of years of organizing and advocacy, could put our state on a path toward repairing some of the damage done by misguided prohibition policies.”

The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act would establish an Office of Cannabis Management, to enforce a regulatory framework for medical, adult-use cannabinoid hemp. The agreement would allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana, increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient, and permit home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients, a release said.

In addition, the legislation would open the door for recreational marijuana, creating a two-tier licensing structure that would allow for a range of producers by separating those growers and processors from also owning retail stores, the release said.

The legislation creates licenses for producers and distributors, among others, and the legislation seeks to implement quality control, public health and consumer protections. A social and economic equity program would facilitate individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis enforcement, including creating a goal of 50 percent of licenses to go to a minority or woman-owned business enterprise, distressed farmers, or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry, Cuomo said.

The bill also proposes a new cannabis tax structure that would replace a weight-based tax with a tax per mg of THC at the distributor level with different rates depending on final product type. The wholesale excise tax would be moved to the retail level with a 9 percent state excise tax. The local excise tax rate would be 4 percent of the retail price. Counties would receive 25 percent of the local retail tax revenue and 75 percent would go to the municipality.

The agreement would also permit the sale of hemp flower in the cannabinoid hemp program, and allow for smokeable forms only when adult-use retail stores are operational.

Revenue from the adult-use cannabis tax would be placed in a fund and used to administer the program, with remaining funds distributed to education, community grants reinvestment and a drug treatment and public education fund, Cuomo said.

Local cities, towns and villages are able to opt out of allowing the recreational use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by Dec. 31 or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. They cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization.

On the issue of traffic safety, Cuomo said the New York State Department of Health will work with institutions of higher education to conduct a controlled research study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving. After completion of the research study, DOH may create and implement rules and regulations to approve and certify a test for the presence of cannabis in drivers, he said. The use of cannabis by drivers will remain prohibited.

For those growing cannabis at home and possessing cannabis outside the home: Outside of the home, people can have up to 3 ounces cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. At home, cannabis must be kept in a secure location away from children. Home grow is allowed to the extent of three mature plants and three immature plants for adults over 21 and six mature plants and six immature plants maximum per household.

Criminal justice

The bill allows for automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law and provides necessary funding, and adds cannabis to the clean indoor air act.

A pubic health and education campaign will also kick off, Cuomo said.

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